Ardmore commemorates the abolition of slavery - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Ardmore commemorates the abolition of slavery

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ARDMORE, OK -- More than 150 years after slavery was abolished in the United States, the event is being commemorated around the country this weekend.

Local civil rights activists say Juneteenth is comparable to Independence Day, a time where we are all reminded about the values of freedom.

"I never knew what Juneteenth was about," said Ardmore High School drama student Taujeeai Roberts. Now she is hoping to raise awareness about what makes this holiday so important.

"My sisters think it's just like another Martin Luther King parade, but no... it's not," she said. "It's about how they freed the slaves in 1865."

The local chapter of the NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, will be hosting a number of activities in Ardmore in honor of Juneteenth. The group's president, Bobby Upshaw, said they are looking forward to getting the community involved.

"As we always say: If we fail to remember our history, then we will repeat it," Upshaw said.

Organizers tell us that Juneteenth is not just about the free lunches and the performances, starting in northeast Ardmore. The NAACP is hoping to make a real difference.

"There are a lot of wonderful people in this community, a lot of people who want to have a voice and really don't have one," Upshaw said.

The group will be passing out voter registration forms as part of the celebration. Upshaw said it's a small step in the right direction.

"We want to open up our arms; we want to open up the doors; to invite anyone who wants to participate in this," he said.

Saturday's event is set for noon at the HFV Wilson Community Center, 625 East Main Street, in Ardmore.

Oklahoma is one of 31 states that recognize Juneteenth as a holiday.

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